Kirsten Lawrence, MD, is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, which means she takes care of women with high-risk pregnancies, either related to medical problems that pre-date pregnancy or to complications that develop during pregnancy for mother or baby (or babies).
A mother of three, Dr. Lawrence doesn’t hesitate to share her own experience with preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition marked by high blood pressure that occurs only during pregnancy or the post-partum period.
“It was a frightening experience, and having gone through it, it’s now something I’m focused on with my patients,” she says. “It’s a common disorder in pregnancy and it can be associated with significant risk both to the mom and her baby. Women know when something is wrong, which is why it’s so important that we as physicians really listen to our patients.”
The daughter of an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Lawrence was influenced by medicine at an early age. “It was a fulfilling career for my father, and when I went to medical school, I loved Ob/Gyn because it combined creating meaningful relationships with patients, continuity of care with the challenges of medicine and surgery,” she says.
Pregnancy, Dr. Lawrence says, is a vulnerable time for women, and a high-risk pregnancy can bring more concern. “I love getting to know women at this emotionally complex time and supporting them and their families,” she says. “Plus, I enjoy the intellectual challenge. There’s always more to learn.”
Dr. Lawrence’s research focuses on women with heart disease and preventing high blood pressure in pregnancy. She has been involved in a large national trial looking at using statins, a class of cardiac disease medications, to prevent preeclampsia. She does not currently perform deliveries.